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Killing Time Before Top Chef…..

Today was my first day back to work.  I’ll be working from home part-time through next week.  I know, I know, I should have just taken the full four weeks off of work that my doctor approved, but I’d kick myself if I didn’t rush back as soon as possible to go buns-up for corporate wastemongers.  Totally different subject, but judging by today’s corporate culture this country is absolutely fucked.  That’s another rant for another day, but the inefficiency it takes to do everything “on the cheap” has to hit critical mass at some point.

As far as the new lifestyle goes, those damn people in the bariatric program were right AGAIN.  “Be careful when introducing new foods…”…. yeah yeah, whatever…’s not like I’ve been shoving 3oz hunks of breakfast sausage into my gaping maw, all I did was try rotisserie style turkey breast yesterday.  Apparently, as they stated a hundred times during my pre-op education, the new stomach pouch and entrance into the intestine are very sensitive.  The difference in texture (and I’m assuming this is the issue, it’s the one variable that has changed) between thinly sliced deli turkey breast and roasted turkey breast was like going from silk to sandpaper as far as my new gut was concerned.  Compound that with the slight acidity of my diluted Crystal Lite raspberry lemonade and I worked up some annoying irritation.  No biggie, I’m going to switch back to plain water and my softer proteins for a few days….lesson learned.  I guess this means hot wings and ABT’s will have to wait a little while longer….

For better or worse, I’ve been getting back in touch with my lunchbox collection.  A few visitors have all commented on its 70’s awesomeness recently, and that has inspired me to scan eBay every night to see what’s for sale.  I’m really surprised how the prices have risen in the five or so years since I’ve shopped for them.  The average price used to be around twenty five dollars for the 70’s basics (Welcome Back Kotter, Emergency, etc.), but most of the boxes I don’t own and still want (Family Affair, Flying Nun, Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters…the list goes on forever) are going for fifty dollars and up now.   I don’t have the expendable income to boost my collection with the important boxes right now, but I DID score a Hair Bear Bunch lunchbox tonight for fifteen dollars shipped.   Some bastard outbid me on a Buck Rogers box at the last minute, but they are a dime a dozen…..unlike Flipper and The Munsters, which don’t come up that often for under $100.

Well, it’s almost time for Top Chef.  What in the hell was with the rerun of the Season 1 and Season 2 challenge last week?  With Tre gone, I think it’s going to be reality programming high drama for the rest of this season.  I really don’t care who wins now, but I do wish Howie would go back to his spot under a bridge waiting for goats. 

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Feeling “Full”

As I stated earlier, I’ve been a little concerned over my inability to feel “full”, or to figure out what it’s supposed to feel like.  I generally measure out approximately 3 ounces of protein for every meal, and can eat that pretty easily.  For the sake of science, last night I measured out a little over 4 ounces of cooked turbot for dinner.  I definitely think I know what “full” feels like now…it hits very suddenly, is triggered by just one extra bite, and isn’t a great feeling.  I definitely did not finish all of the turbot, I think I ate a little over 3 1/2 ounces before the fullness hit. 

I’ve been wanting to talk to the dietician for the past several days, just to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong.  On egg day, I finished my egg and thought I could eat more…while most people say they could only eat a few bites before they were full.  I was concerned I was doing something wrong or already eating way too much because most of the literature tells me that a couple of tablespoons should fill me up.  Within an hour or so of eating a meal, I start feeling like I’m hungry again or could eat more.  BUT the tough thing to figure out is whether that’s real hunger or it’s just a mental trigger since I’ve spent a lifetime acting on every impulse to eat more food.  Today when I called the dietician she put my mind at ease.  Eating three ounces of protein isn’t “too much”, and “feeling full” is NOT the goal…because unlike fullness before surgery it’s no longer a pleasant experience.  Most of my problem right now simply has to do with re-training my brain after eating incorrectly for the past 38 years.  Anyway, it was good to figure out a boundary on my own and then hear from a professional that the amount I’m eating is very normal this close to my surgery date.  In addition to re-training my eating habits, I’m going to have to learn to fill up my time with more activities.  I’ve been a slacker while I’ve been healing, but now that I can drive moderate distances and walk more comfortably, I just have to get out more.  School will be starting again in about six weeks, so that will definitely fill up some time, but I probably need to get back into my voice lessons and opera, and figure out some new things to pass the time that don’t involve food, drink, being sedentary, etc.

On a COMPLETELY different note…yesterday I discovered what could possibly be the most important television program in history.   If you haven’t watched Bret Michaels “Rock of Love” on VH1, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It really is the lowest form, and therefore the greatest, reality programming to date.  I was hoping to get out and do something yesterday afternoon, but alas, VH1 was running an all-day marathon.  I knew it existed but hadn’t really watched it before yesterday, so it was all new to me….and THAT is the way to watch reality TV…all in one big chunk.  That way you don’t die from suspense from week to week.  Anyway, this show is amazing.  From what I can tell the premise is to find a full-time whore for aging Poison frontman Bret Michaels to violate in semi-monogamous fashion for the forseeable future.  I think I missed the first episode, so when I dropped in they were down to twelve contestants.  Oh and these girls are pure class…there’s at least one aging stripper, a star-banging cocktail waitress with amazingly huge implants, an over the hill redneck party girl, a young Czech who doesn’t even know who Bret is, a token black girl, and a host of other blondes in their early twenties.  They spend each episode drinking, fighting, and competing for dates with Bret (competitions are very rock-centric, kicking the boozy whorishness up a notch with each episode!).  I’m serious, this is the most awesome trainwreck I’ve seen since I can’t remember when (and I have been off my pain meds for almost a week, so this isn’t like my Spongebob obsession when I had my kidney stone), and the formulaic reality tv editing keeps you guessing….oh WHO will Bret give those backstage passes to this week and ask “will you continue to stay in this house and rock my world”?  Absolute genius.  Even better than a weekend of stepped on smack and a non-stop screening of Berlin Alexanderplatz. 

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Grocery Shopping

Today was only the second time I’ve done it since returning from the hospital, but I have to say I’m really, really, really enjoying it so far.  Coming to the realization that I will only need a shopping basket instead of a cart on the majority of my trips was very surreal.  Unless I’m stocking up on charcoal, dog food, distilled water, etc., I’ll never need food in enough bulk to warrant a cart.  That was a great feeling, but the BEST part was shopping for meat and seafood with no consideration of the price.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it can’t be like that all the time (eggs, cottage cheese, etc. will still supplement the majority of my proteins), I’m not made of money, but shopping based solely upon what “sounds good” was an entirely new experience for me.  Three weeks ago it was all about bulk, so I HAD to be conscious of the price….but today I was all about some beautiful U-10 scallops, turbot and halibut.  Now, it’s not like the stuff was FREE, but a few scallops and two premium fish fillets with an average price of $18/lb still cost under $20 and will provide me with at least six meals.  Not bad.  If we had a Whole Paycheck or Wild Oats store closer to my house I’d start shopping there instead of the local Price Chopper.  I can’t wait to get down to the Asian grocery store in the river market later this week…they have an incredible seafood selection with great prices. 

Anyway, that was one of the major highlights of the day…. cheap (for me) premium eatin’!

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No big news over the last few days.  I’m officially off of the pain medicine as of two days ago, and even though there is occasional significant pain from the main incision I’ve been doing just fine.  FINALLY able to sort-of sleep on my sides, which has been significant.  Having to sleep on my back was driving me insane.  I’m getting around very well, spent part of today getting my stereo hooked back up….only to find out my crappy CD player needs replaced.

 Anyway, no sense in rambling, I was going to the movies this morning and slept in, so I’ll do my big post-surgery driving debut tomorrow morning when I go see Halloween and sneak into Death Sentence.  I guess the fact that there is NOTHING on the AMC concession menu I can eat is a financial blessing…I’ll have to go and pick up some fancy Fiji water beforehand to compensate.  As far as food, it has pretty much been cottage cheese, eggs, string cheese, and one piece of fish the other night.  I’m still struggling with feeling out what “full” feels like, but since I can only really have a few bites at a time I’m not lamenting the boring food choices yet.  The weather has really let up, so maybe I’ll go wild at some point and take the dog down to the riverwalk….

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Damn I’m Hungry…

I’m definitely looking forward to “egg day” tomorrow.  I’ll get a glorious egg for one of my meals (jello and broth for the other two), and in the following days I’ll swap out another egg for the liquids until I’m totally on protein.  Something curious has happened in the past day…I think it is a combination of lack of real nutrition and the lifelong ability to act on the urge to eat. Anyway, when I’m watching FoodTV or some of the food commercials I start getting really anxious and feel like I’m hungry.  THEN when I flip the channel and chill out for a few minutes I’m okay.  I’m sure there are doctors and psychologists that could speak to this much more effectively than me, but it’s interesting to see the whole Pavlovian thing happening post-surgery.  I don’t get depressed or upset that I can’t have the food, I just start thinking about my empty belly and the mind takes over.  I will be VERY interested to see if the same thing happens once I’m on a diet of solid proteins and am reaping the benefits of constant satiety.  One thing at a time…I don’t want to start lamenting a life of food obsession and obesity driven by the attachment to TV, I just want to make it to egg day so I can chew something.

 Other than that, I’m getting around much better. The pain meds still help a lot.  It’s still just the one incision site that is giving me the most trouble, but I’m getting around much better every day.  The most important thing for me has been to stick to a schedule of shaving, brushing my teeth, showering, changing my dressings and putting on totally fresh clothes every day.  It may sound like a small thing, but I’m just more focused once I’ve done the daily basics.  You know, focused on things like….which DVD do I watch next, which of these protein drinks tastes the LEAST shitty, were Bill Mahr and Bill O’Reilly separated at birth, how does Swanson get away with selling this beef “broth” when this “faincy” organic stuff is so much better…….all of the important issues.  I have had some friends stop by and visit, which has helped considerably.  

Off to watch The Black Sabbath Story, Volumes 1 and 2…….

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Uninspired a few hours out….

Well, surgery will begin in about ten hours…or much later depending on how things are swingin’ at the hospital.  Nothing too profound to share at this point.  I’m not overly nervous or reflective.  I think the one thing that will take the most getting used to will be the inability to drink liquids quickly.  Sipping vs. guzzling…and there’s nothing like guzzling some water on these hot summer days.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it like anything else, but just for the hell of it I’m going to chug some water just before midnight (no liquids or anything after that).

 Dinner last night was kind of uneventful.  A few ravioli and some garlic bread.  I stuck with the “easily digestible” recommendation in the surgery checklist.  Light breakfast this morning, and then around 1pm this afternoon was my wonderful bottle of magnesium citrate.  That definitely gets the system moving….and then some.  SO I guess I’m going to get a few hours sleep and get to the hospital in the a.m.  I’ll be back to my rambling once I’m on a wonderful regimen of painkillers…….

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Final Doctor Visit

Yesterday’s visit to the doctor went very well.  It was my “final pre-op” visit, just to go over any last questions, sign the necessary release forms, etc.  I’ve done a lot of homework up to this point, so my only question had to do with my sleep apnea.  When I’ve lost weight in the past, the pressure on the c-pap caused me to swallow a lot of air and wake up with my stomach killing me, spending the next minute or so expelling one huge sustained burp.  Apparently this won’t be a danger post-op, I’ll just have to have the pressure adjusted as needed. 

I’ve done so much homework and worrying up to this point that I haven’t taken any time to really be excited about what’s going to happen.  I worry, that’s what I do.  I worry, analyze, dissect, plan, think, rethink everything until it is over with, rarely taking time to stop and enjoy where I’m at.  This process if of course no exception, in fact, it has been the height of my meticulous illness.  Of course it begs the question…if I can be in control of so many things, why not my weight?  I wish I knew.  The only thing I can compare it to is someone who follows ANY self-destructive path with full awareness…whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gambling or the myriad other bits of our culture that some people can handle in moderation and some people cannot.  Anyway…yesterday I finally took a few minutes to think about the positive changes that this drastic measure will bring.  My doctor laughed when I said I hadn’t really thought about all of that too much, and he reminded me that I’ll probably drop about fifty pounds in the first month.  I think of it like this…all of my clothes will be extremely loose five weeks from now.  I have a lot of work to do in order to make the process successful, but that is a radical change.  They also took my “before” picture yesterday, and will take another one in a year.  So what will a year bring? 

Tonight is the “last supper” at Bluestem…I’m looking forward to that.  I know it probably sounds like the group of drunks who take their friend out for one last bender before court mandated rehab, but I don’t care.  I’ll cap off my love for fine dining tonight, and see where I’m at six months from now. 

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